C-130 Transport Aircraft
Since it’s first flight on August 23, 1954, the C-130 transport aircraft has become the most successful military aircraft ever. More than 2,300 C-130s (also called the C-130J, the Hercules aircraft, which is the newest model) have been built for more than 67 countries. But why is it so popular?
Other than the fact that this aircraft feels like it can do almost anything, it has some pretty unique features. Firstly, it meets a diverse array of transport needs and can land almost anywhere with twenty tons of cargo. Secondly, the Air Force and the Lockheed Corporation invested continuously into new technology that they used to improve the C-130s performance over the past sixty years. This is one of only five aircrafts that have seen continuous use for fifty years or more, sharing the list with the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, the English Electric Canberra, Tupolev Tu-95 and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.
The aircraft is capable of unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, which makes it an asset. Originally designed as a cargo, troop and medical aircraft, the C-130 has also been used in a variety of ways due to it’s versatility, including scientific research support, a gunship (called the AC-130), aerial firefighting, maritime patrol, search and rescue and much more.
C-130 Aircraft Engine
This is a four-engine Allison AE2100D3 turboprop military transport aircraft that has a top speed of 593 km/h. The engines are equipped with full-authority digital electronic control (FADEC) and the automatic thrust control system makes sure there is a perfect balance between the engines, allowing much lower levels of minimum control speeds and fantastic short runway performance. Beyond that, the fuel weight capacity of the aircraft internally is 45,900 pounds and it can carry an additional 18,700 pounds in underwing fuel tanks. This aircraft climbs faster and flies higher all thanks to the engines.
The aircraft is manned by two pilots and a loadmaster and features a new glass cockpit with four L-3 display systems for flight control and navigation. Also, the “J” variant of the C-130 (nicknamed Super Hercules) is equipped with dynamic, integrated defensive countermeasures including the ATK AN/AAR-47 missile warning system. This system uses electo-optic sensors (mounted on the nose below the second cockpit window and the tail cone) in order to detect missile exhaust and advanced processing algorithms prioritize threats. This is only one of the many defensive countermeasures that can be found on the aircraft.
A legendary aircraft that is never to be underestimated, it doesn’t look like the C-130 is going away anytime soon. Still the most utilize transport aircraft around the world.